Monday, March 11, 2024

ABOUT ME! Pedersen Media/Pedersen Recovery Inc.

We often come across individuals who excel in multiple fields, and Rod Pedersen is undoubtedly one of them. With a diverse skill set that encompasses broadcasting, writing, and serving as a sober coach for athletes, entertainers and military, Pedersen has made a significant impact in each of these domains. Let's delve into his journey!

Rod Pedersen first gained recognition as a prominent Canadian sports broadcaster. With a career spanning over three decades, he has covered various sporting events including Super Bowl, Grey Cups and the Stanley Cup Final. He's also enjoyed successful partnerships with Hockey Canada and USA Football. Pedersen's passion for sports shines through his engaging commentary and in-depth analysis. Whether it's play-by-play coverage or insightful pre- and post-game discussions, he has an innate ability to captivate audiences and bring sports to life.

But Pedersen's talents extend beyond the broadcast booth. As a writer, he has penned several best-selling books and award-winning blogs, showcasing his ability to delve into different subjects, keeping readers engaged and entertained.

However, it is Pedersen's work as a sober coach that truly sets him apart. Having battled addiction himself, he understands the struggles individuals face in their journey towards sobriety. With his experience and empathy, Pedersen has become a beacon of hope for those seeking a way out of their addiction. As a sober coach, he offers support, guidance, and motivation to individuals aiming to achieve and maintain a sober lifestyle. His dedication to helping others turn their lives around is both inspiring and commendable.

Pedersen's multifaceted career is a testament to his versatility and determination. Beyond his professional accomplishments, he is also known for his warm and friendly personality. His genuine interactions with people have resonated with audiences, fostering a strong sense of connection and community.

In addition to his career achievements, Pedersen's openness about his personal struggles has made him a relatable figure to many. By sharing his own journey towards sobriety, he has inspired countless individuals to confront their own demons and seek the help they need. Rod likes to remind people that we are all human, united by our shared experiences.

As a broadcaster, writer, and sober coach, Pedersen serves as an inspiration to those looking to pursue their passions and overcome adversity. His dedication to excellence, coupled with his compassionate approach, is a true embodiment of the power of perseverance.

To contact Rod, please email


Saturday, August 26, 2023


Nine times out of 10 when someone I meet learns that I no longer drink (3,124 days as of this writing), they say, "Boy it must be great not having to deal with hangovers!"

Of course it is, but in truth that's about the 10th best thing I've discovered from leading a sober life. So for this week's blog post, here are my Top 10 Best Things of My Sober Life after hitting rock bottom on January 26, 2015:

1 - NO FEAR: The rest of these points really are in no particular order but this is my clearcut #1. Why? Because imagine being paralyzed by fear so much that you're afraid to look at your phone, you shudder in a cold sweat each and every time a text or call comes in because you assume you're in trouble for something you did or said while drinking (and most times you don't even remember doing it). Imagine having to tiptoe around your boss's office to avoid his angry glare for your drunken antics, or constantly worry about "who's talking to who" about the drama you created about yourself.

Now, all of that is gone and that's the biggest relief in the world.

2 - EXPERIENCING LIFE: A week long trip to Mexico seems like two weeks, or a 2-day road trip seems like a 4-day adventure because you're not drunk half the time and hungover in bed for the other half. Somebody just asked me this week how I handle so much life on the road without drinking and he said "What's life like?" Well, it was exhilarating to be sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Toronto at 7:00 am last Saturday when Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter walked in. The old me would've still been in bed sleeping it off. On this morning, Carter and I chatted, took a photo, and I soon learned he's in long-term Recovery too. That's one of hundreds of examples of how nice it is to be "with it", and finally enjoying the real side of life rather than getting loaded in a dingy bar.

3 - FREEDOM: It's a real thing. Not having to take the long way around a checkstop never gets old, and it's empowering to drive by a cop and look him in the eye. This may seem elementary to you if you're not an alcoholic, but hardcore drinkers will nod their heads like a bobblehead when they read this. Above all else, it's nice to be able to rent a car on so many of our trips and know Blood Alcohol Level won't be a problem. Travelling across borders is effortless and free. Sober living is win, win, win.

4 - TRUST: This has to rank up near the top, and it's wide-ranging. But the big one is the security that my wife and family feels about me now when I'm off on my own. There are no worries that I'll get into trouble or injure myself. A scrape on my shin or hands is easily explained - and believed - rather than the elaborate lies I had to cook up in my old life. That was exhausting. Now it's all gone. My family knows I'll be doing the right thing, all the time, when I'm gone or when they're gone.

Photo by Larry Mueller
5 - FINANCES: This shouldn't be surprising, but it's bigger than you think. It's one thing to ring up high bar tabs for yourself and buy the whole tavern drinks just so you have somebody to drink with (pathetic I know, but it was a regular occurrence). But what about this: lost sunglasses, cell phones, VEHICLES, and every other material possession you could think of. It didn't take very long into Recovery for me to see my bank account go up, up, and up. In fact, I bought a Jeep with money I've saved in sobriety and it's a reward I enjoy every day.

6 - RESPECT AND SELF-RESPECT: Did you know the most important things on this earth, you can't buy? (Love, respect, trust, dignity, health). I'm literally years into Recovery and still digging myself out of the 25-year hole I created while wallowing in the disease of Alcoholism. It's a day-by-day effort to restore respect and dignity and it only comes by proving yourself every 24 hours (hence our favourite saying, One Day At A Time). However the days stack up into weeks, months and years and I've met a lot of new people who have no idea about my past. They say I'm a nice, respectable, admirable person and some even call me Mr. Pedersen. I never thought getting to this point would ever be possible. Again, what a reward for sobriety.

On the flipside, as an addict you allow people to treat you like garbage because you think you are garbage. Because of your dirty little secret, you don't think you can have nice things. However once that secret is out in the open and dealt with, life becomes a whole new world. Put it this way: if you mistreat me now, you'd better be prepared for a fight.

7 - CLEAR MIND: They call it the "Alcoholic Fog" and it too is a thing. Booze really takes over your brain and clouds all of your thinking. That, I feel, is why 90 days in Recovery is a real milestone because by that point, you should be coming out of the fog, detangling your mind, feeling 100% better physically, and realizing a sober life is the ONLY option for an alcoholic. There were times on my radio show where my mind would just "freeze" because of my drinking and I literally could not think. That is not optimum on live radio. It was absolutely horrible.

One day last year I was sitting on the patio of a coffee house in Phoenix and looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. I thought to myself, "My mind is as clear as that Arizona sky." What a feeling!

8 - MY HEALTH: You would think this would be higher on the list, and perhaps it should be. When I got into Recovery everyone kept saying, "You're sick!" and "You're not well!" What on earth were they talking about? I was in the gym at least an hour everyday. But it was the shock of my life when my doctor said I'd be dead in a year the way I was going if I didn't change my life, pronto. Someone told me last week that I look 10 years younger. My skin is fresh and that's likely because I sleep like a baby. ("A clean conscience is the softest pillow" - John Wooden). I am preparing for a long and happy life rather than wishing I was dead, which I did just a few years ago.

9 - NOT FEELING LOST: This kind of spills into my Anxiety Disorder but it's another real thing. As an alcoholic you feel like you're on an island - except for your drinking buddies - but when you get into Recovery you meet dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people who are just like you. That's a nice feeling. And by keeping a daily journal you plant your feet on the ground rather than waving around in the wind like a balloon. I got started in this by my accountant who wanted me to track my mileage on a daily basis. Soon I was writing down who I talk with daily, where I went for lunch, family events, etc. Basically, it feels like you have your shit together for the first time in your life.

10 - NO HANGOVERS: So, yes, not having hangovers is a pretty wonderful way to go through life but it doesn't really compare to the nine other points above. Plus, when you drink as much as an alcoholic does, hangovers aren't really that bad. I see people who go on benders once or twice every year and sometimes wonder, "Why can't I do that?" However I quickly realize that I was doing it every weekend or sometimes multiple times per week. It was completely ruining my life and I'm grateful every minute of every day that I found the road out.

* If you have a serious problem with alcohol (if it's causing problems in your life), then it's imperative that you seek help. If it's deemed that you suffer from Alcoholism, then drinking can no longer be part of your life.

Hopefully this week's blog shows you what the upside of that is. It's ALL positive.

Twitter: @pedersenrecover
IG: @pedersenrecovery
FB: Pedersen Recovery & Coaching Inc.

SC: Pedersenmedia

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


— Jim Montgomery was at his lowest point after he was fired by the Dallas Stars for what he has since admitted was a drinking problem.

Three years later, he is at the top of the NHL, coaching the Boston Bruins to the best record in NHL history. It wouldn’t have been possible if not for the lessons learned during his exile, his rehab and his climb back through the coaching ranks.

“You’re filled with guilt and shame. You’re not even thinking about when’s your next job,” Montgomery said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I was at the nadir of my life. Then you start building yourself back up and you start to get your life in order first and work on yourself. And then you start getting back. And you become better at everything.”

A native of Canada who led Maine to the 1993 NCAA title — scoring a third-period hat trick in the final — Montgomery played in 122 NHL games over six years before he turned to coaching. He won two U.S. junior titles and led Denver to an NCAA championship before he was hired by Dallas.

In his first season, the Stars made the playoffs for the first time in three years. In his second, he had a team that reached the Stanley Cup Final.

But he wouldn’t get there with them.

Montgomery was fired 32 games into the year for what the team called unprofessional conduct. He has since admitted to binge drinking to the point of blackouts, and conceded that he deserved to be fired. After going through rehab, he began working his way back.

Montgomery spent two seasons as an assistant in St. Louis, the team that signed him as a player out of college. He made himself a better coach, he said, absorbing what he could from every system he worked in along the way.

When the Bruins gave him his second chance as a head coach, he brought those lessons with him, creating his own “system” from the bits and pieces he picked up.

He also came out of it stronger as a leader, and more empathic.

“You become a lot more aware and mindful of how other people are doing,” Montgomery said. “I’m talking about someone, maybe they’re off, and they’re off because, well, maybe their dog passed away, their grandmother’s ill. And that’s where I think I’m a much more aware and much more in touch with how other people are doing.”

Montgomery’s predecessor, Bruce Cassidy, led the Bruins to the seventh game of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and at least 100 points in each of his full, non-pandemic seasons in Boston. But some players bristled at his coaching style, and the front office concluded that younger players couldn’t develop under Cassidy’s harsh glare.

Montgomery – so far, at least – has fronted a softer image.

“I definitely see a guy who has worked really hard on making the right approach to being the best coach that he can be, and person off the ice,” defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “The jokes that he makes, the things that he does are pretty funny. And it’s allowed us to connect with him on a different level, just on a personal level as well.”

Carlo declined to provide any examples of Montgomery’s humor, but categorized the 53-year-old coach’s sense of humor as “definitely dad jokes.” Told of this, Montgomery laughed and confessed to telling jokes that might tend toward the corny and dated: “I do a lot of that.”

So instead of chewing out defenseman Connor Clifton for taking too many chances on the ice, Montgomery good-heartedly calls him Kenny Rogers, after the 1978 song, “The Gambler.” He drops in references to Mike Bossy, the Hall of Famer who led the Islanders to four straight Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s, or Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur.

“Some of these guys don’t know who Mike Bossy is or was, or Guy Lafleur,” Montgomery said with a chuckle.

“He’s done a very good job of that, making it light in here and making it fun,” Carlo said. “Especially in the moments where we are having success.”

Five months after taking over in Boston, Montgomery’s office at the team’s practice facility is still largely unadorned, with a picture of his children the only personal touch among hockey charts and diagrams. He said he would eventually like to add some memorabilia that recognizes the Original Six franchise’s long tradition of success, which includes six Cup championships but none since 2011.

In the meantime, he is trying to create more.

Montgomery’s smooth transition has helped the Bruins weather what was supposed to be a rough fall, with top forward Brad Marchand and top defenseman Charlie McAvoy missing the start of the season due to injuries. The expectation was that if the Bruins could remain competitive early, they could pick up ground once reinforcements arrived.

“This is a real easy group,” he said. “Everybody cares about everybody. And I’m not talking teammates with teammates only. That happens. But it’s also how they treat equipment managers, everybody who’s involved. There’s a lot of communication up and down the ladder.”

“And then,” he added, “you’ve got the talent on the ice.”

Montgomery said no one expected these kind of results so early.

“But we try and stay in the present,” he said. “Because if you’re worried about the future — when are these three guys going to get healthy? — well, then you’re not thinking about how you’re going to get better that day.”

(Associated Press/Photo: Boston Bruins)

Thursday, May 27, 2021


The following story originally appeared in the Montreal Gazette's June 29/2018 edition, in the Inside The CFL feature, written by Hall of Fame writer Herb Zurkowsky:

REGINA — More than three years later, Rod Pedersen still tells the story when asked, almost as though it has become cathartic to relive his battle with alcoholism and the subsequent fight to become sober.

And each time the narrative becomes easier, each graphic detail of a life that was spiralling into self-destruction flowing more readily.

“They say when you can tell your story without crying, you’ve healed,” Pedersen said. “Most times, I can tell it without crying.”

Pedersen, 45, a big fish in a small pond, has been the radio voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 20 seasons, a broadcaster at Regina radio station CKRM since 1995. And he easily could have lost it all.

The native of Milestone, Sask., a farming community (pop. 640) 50 kilometres south of Regina, began drinking at age 16.

Perhaps Pedersen was bored living in such a small town. Or perhaps it was the peer pressure. Or perhaps he succumbed to a genetic predisposition. His father, Jim, also a recovering alcoholic, drank for 43 years until 1974, and warned his son the condition might be passed down.

“I knew it was a potential problem. It was causing problems in my life early on. I just wasn’t willing to look at them,” Pedersen said. “I was drinking until I blacked out, and that didn’t deter me. I could not quit. The idea of reaching out and asking for help never donned on me.

“I thank God I never tried drugs. I wouldn’t be sitting here, talking to you today. I’d be dead.”

Pedersen, once the voice of the junior hockey Prince Albert Raiders at age 20, never drank before or during a Riders broadcast — the sanctity of that job in Saskatchewan simply too important. But he also hosts a daily sports talk show that, at one point, was simultaneously sponsored by three breweries, all of which readily made their products available at the station. And it wasn’t uncommon for Pedersen to broadcast the show from banquets or sports bars.

“It (beer) was like a magic tonic to me. I literally couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “I wanted to drink to the point where I couldn’t move. I had it stashed all over the station. If I didn’t black out, I didn’t think I was drunk. The floor of my car vehicle was littered with beer cans. Shockingly, I didn’t think that was a problem.”

In summer 2014, Pedersen successfully auditioned for his dream job and was hired to become the radio voice of the Calgary Flames. And, when his drinking problem was discovered, quickly, he was removed from the position. That sent him into a deep depression — later diagnosed as anxiety disorder — and accelerated his drinking.

“If you thought I drank too much, just watch me. Now I’m going to drink more,” he remembered vowing.

The more he drank, the louder and more obnoxious he became. Once the life of the party, the funny guy with the one-liners, Pedersen quickly discovered none of his friends wanted to associate with him.

“That becomes the loneliest place in the world and, frankly, quite embarrassing,” he said.

Pedersen mixed anti-depressants with alcohol while on the job. He was frequently sent home from work and was forced by his employer to sign documents stating, were he drunk in public or at work, he would be terminated. Finally, in January 2015, drugs in his system and so drunk he was incoherent, Pedersen was suspended, told to enter a recovery program or he’d be fired.

“I gave them more than enough reasons to terminate me,” he said.

The first year of his recovery battle was the most difficult, Pedersen said, avoiding the temptation of reaching for a drink; the constant battle raging in his head between the good and bad voices, along with the craving for alcohol.

Pedersen will never say for certain the habit has been kicked. He wants to say it’s behind him, and believes that to be true. He proudly proclaims he vacationed at an all-inclusive Mexican resort last winter, not one drop of alcohol touching his palate despite the voice in his head arguing nobody would know if he had just one drink. What would it matter?

Pedersen continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once a week. He attended classes in the U.S., received a diploma as an addiction-treatment specialist and coaches recovering alcoholics three or four times each week. He also works in conjunction with the Betty Ford Center.

Most importantly, on Saturday night, after the Riders-Alouettes broadcast concludes, Pedersen will go straight home where his wife since 2012, Cindy, will await.

“A lot of people didn’t think I could overcome this and win the battle,” Pedersen said proudly. “That was the fuel, to prove them wrong. It’s a happy story, and the world doesn’t have a lot of them.

“Don’t give up on yourself, because I did. Anybody can be saved.”

Saturday, June 27, 2020


2020 hasn't been ALL bad.

For the past few months I kept hearing the name Allan Kehler, Allan Kehler, ALLAN KEHLER. The name had been coming up in my conversations with friends like Clint Malarchuk, Health industry personnel and media folk. Allan's mug even popped up in my Facebook feed under "People You May Know". But I didn't know him.

It seemed Allan Kehler's name is a trusted one, and my friends told me he's a Mental Health advocate, motivational speaker and best-selling author out of Saskatoon. "You've gotta meet him," they kept saying. "You two'd hit it off!"

And then this week, out of the blue, I got a note from Allan saying he was going to be in my city and he asked for a meeting. As I've learned in Recovery when someone opens a door for you, you walk through it. So we set up a time to meet on Friday at the studios of my daily sports talkshow.

That in itself was a gong show and Allan would have his first "Welcome To Rod's Life" moment as he had to adjust his schedule for my antique Jeep breaking down, which threw a kink into our plans. Then he had to wade through a staff barbecue in our studio parking lot being thrown by retired NFL'er-turned-TV analyst Tori Gurley. (Allan graciously accepted a hotdog).

Once inside the IKS Media building, we closed the glass door to a nice air conditioned conference room and got down to business. 

You see when two people in Recovery and in the "helping people" business connect, you get to the heart of the matter real fast and the conversation can last for hours. The rest of the world doesn't *get us*, so we cherish the few who do.  ("Why would you help somebody else with no expectation of a return?" is the popular refrain from the earthlings). 

Anyway after briefly sharing our stories and scheming how best to team up our services, Allan handed me four copies of his latest book MENtal Health - It's Time To Talk, with the foreword by famed broadcaster and Mental Health speaker Michael Landsberg.

I promised Allan I would read it over the weekend but in truth, I crushed it by noon on Saturday. That's a testament in two ways: 1) I couldn't put it down, and 2) The book is framed in small, bite-sized chapters which makes it easily digestible. If you have a passion for this stuff, you'll blaze through it too.

And what's different about Kehler's fourth book is that it's tailored specifically to men. It examines the stats on men's Mental Health issues versus women's, how they affect each gender differently (inward versus outward reactions), and much, much more.

With Allan Kehler (left) at IKS Media
There are a host of short stories from men from all walks of life sharing their struggles. You want to hear from the guy running through downtown barefoot in a hospital gown and wonder why he did it? That guy tells you in this book. You want to know why farmers are among the most stressed and anxious blue-collar workers and how they deal with it (or DON'T deal with it?). You'll hear from one young farmer - who's also a junior hockey coach - on how we've been looking at it all wrong our whole lives. You'll also hear from the First Responder whose PTSD led him down the wrong path before he turned his life around with the proper help.

And that right there is the biggest key. I'll admit there's a tornado of stories encapsulated in the 181 pages which can be a lot to absorb in one sitting. But one key message kept coming through over and over:

You need to reach out for assistance if you're struggling. Nobody can do it for you and once you're tired enough of living in the storm, it's up to you to take the first step. And if a door or two gets slammed in your face, don't be discouraged. Try another door. Keep trying doors until the right one opens because you'll find it.

The publication is also rife with little nuggets that'll stay with you forever, like: "You are the author of your life. But the universe is the editor". That one came from the guy who was running barefoot downtown in a hospital gown. Maybe he's not so crazy after all.

MENtal Health is a collection of stories from the winners who kept fighting and came out on the other side. They didn't give up no matter how much adversity was shoved in their face.

Who doesn't love a good comeback story?

And one other thing about 2020 not being so bad. There are have been countless horrible things go on this calendar year which are largely out of our control. However we are also in the midst of the digital age and no matter where you live in the world - no matter how remote or even how congested it is - you can find all the resources and the "right door" online.

Shame, embarrassment and stigma are no longer viable excuses for not getting help.

Allan Kehler's book gives you the keys to get your life back.


Order yours direct-to-home from Allan's website:
or at your local Indigo/Chapters.

Rod Pedersen
Pedersen Recovery Inc./The Recovery Hour

Friday, June 5, 2020


(Photo: Zach Drake,
By: Zach Drake,
Alcohol and drugs have never been more easily accessible to youth, and that's the reason many feel it's so important to educate them on the dangers of substance abuse early.
Former voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Rod Pedersen now works as a Sober Coach with Pedersen Recovery INC. for athletes, entertainers, the military and more who are battling addictions and mental illness.
Pedersen spends a lot of time working as a recovery advocate and serving as a keynote speaker.
Thursday afternoon, Pedersen spoke to a group of students at Peacock Collegiate. He described what his main message was in the presentation.
"Well, the number one weapon against addiction is prevention. So if we can stop kids before they've started drugs and alcohol abuse it's a win right there. If it's an older group I talk to, I say 'it's never too late to turn your life around' but with kids like this at Peacock I say 'it's never too early'. If you're starting to experience issues with mental health or addictions/substance abuse, look into it. Don't let it take your life down the drain like it did with mine."
Pedersen also explained why it's important to educate youth, even as young as 10 years old.
"I've become big on numbers. Suicide rates have tripled for kids 10-14, and there's a variety of reasons why that is ... a lot of excuses why that is. It's an important age; it's when people start to make life-altering decisions. Again it's about prevention, the number one weapon against addiction is prevention. We're trying to get to them as early as we can, because it's easier to build boys and girls than it is to repair men and women."
Pedersen added that it only takes one person in your corner to turn your life around and that it could be as simple as a single sentence that saves your life.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


"I was a bully and I caused a lot of pain. Now, helping others is greater than any day on the ice." - Brent Sopel

Stanley Cup champion and NHL star Brent Sopel is the latest guest on the Pedersen Recovery Podcast!

The 42-year old Calgary product has recently gone public with his story of a lifelong battle with Dyslexia, which led to a substance abuse battle, and successful stint in a treatment center.

Sopel played in the Western Hockey League with the Saskatoon Blades and Swift Current Broncos, but admits to graduating high school at only a Grade 8 reading level.

Brent went on to a very successful NHL career with stops in Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Montreal, winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010. All tolled, he played 659 NHL games.

However all-the-while, he was carrying scars of being mocked in elementary school, and the frustration of not knowing what was wrong with him well into his adulthood.

The story of how he got the Dyslexia diagnosis is a cliffhanger. However even after that, it took many more years before he'd reach successful, long-term sobriety.

Nowadays, Brent Sopel is an advocate for those suffering from Dyslexia and heads up the Brent Sopel Foundation for charitable causes. He is a proud Recovery Warrior.

Please enjoy this month's Recovery podcast interview with NHL star and survivor Brent Sopel:

Monday, September 23, 2019


Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo is a rising star in the football world, but also within the Faith community.

The 27-year old pivot from Brea, CA has risen to prominence in the Canadian Football League in his first year as a starter, but his fifth in the CFL. He also spent time with the NFL's Oakland Raiders.

Fajardo drew headlines this season with his colourful "Sprinkle of Jesus" quote, when he led the Riders on a game-winning touchdown drive in a 24-19 victory over Hamilton on August 1 at Mosaic Stadium. After the game, Cody gave credit for his heroics to his Lord and Saviour. The comment took off within the Rider Nation, and within the religious community

In this month's Pedersen Recovery Podcast, Cody Fajardo tells his personal Faith story, how he dealt with his parents' divorce as a teen, and how he deals with critics since he wears his heart on his sleeve as a Believer.

Please enjoy this uplifting interview with Cody Fajardo:

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Like millions of Canadians, it's very likely you were wrapped up in the thrilling Toronto Raptors run to the 2019 NBA championship this past spring!

And, if you were tuned into the broadcasts on TSN and Sportsnet, you'll recall a deep, baritone voice introducing "Yourrrrrrrrrrr Toronnnnnto Rrrrrraptors!" to the hardwood at Scotiabank Arena before thousands of fans, and millions more on TV.

That voice belongs to my friend Herbie Kuhn who, in addition to his role as Public Address Announcer for Canada's NBA Team, serves as the club's official co-Chaplin. He is also the Team Chaplin for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, and that's how he and I crossed paths.

It was at the 2016 Grey Cup in Toronto, where Herbie was serving as the MC for the annual Athletes In Action Breakfast at the Sheraton in Downtown Toronto. I'll detail a little more of the story in the podcast, but suffice it to say that Herbie and I met, exchanged numbers, and became fast friends.

Fast forward to today, and Herbie can now say he's a champion of both the CFL and the NBA! But he took a long, tough road to get there due to a battle with substance abuse and mental health issues before turning his life around. Now, he's helping others get out of similar funks and clearly he's doing great things.

Please enjoy our visit with Raptors announcer Herbie Kuhn on this month's Pedersen Recovery Podcast:

Thursday, July 4, 2019


SURREY, B.C. - One of the CFL's toughest players says he's no longer afraid to face his mental health.

More than a year and a half after experiencing a terrifying bout of panic attacks and anxiety, B.C. Lions quarterback Mike Reilly shared his experience in a stark piece for on Wednesday, saying he hopes it helps others dealing with similar issues.

"I just hope that (my story) empowers people to know that it's not taboo and it's not something people should frown upon,'' the 34 year old told reporters at the Lions' suburban training facility on Wednesday, just hours after the piece went live online.

"People should celebrate that you're strong enough to be able to get help instead of worrying about how tough you are or how big your ego is or how scared you are.''

Reilly experienced his first panic attack at his off-season home in Seattle in January 2018. He was coming off another season as the league's top passer, having thrown for 5,830 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017.

He and his wife Emily had one infant daughter and another on the way when, one night, the football star lay down in bed only to find himself unable to breathe, his heart racing, gripped by the fear that he was about to die.

"The scariest part was that it was something new for me and something I hadn't dealt with before,'' Reilly said. "I was scared that I was going to feel that way every day for the rest of my life. That's a pretty rough place to be in.''

Over the next month, the 2015 Grey Cup MVP struggled with reconciling his recurring panic attacks and persistent anxiety with his image of being one of the CFL's toughest athletes. He didn't want to tell anyone - including his wife or his brother, a psychologist - what he was really going through. He worried with how he'd be viewed and that any issue would automatically be linked to a head injury.

"I thought of myself as a super tough guy. But there's a difference between being tough and being dumb,'' Reilly explained. "Being tough is one thing when you're fighting through something on your own. But that was not a scenario where I was going to be able to just fight through and pretend it wasn't happening. Once I finally realized that and got the help that I needed, it was life changing.''

Eventually he reached out, received support and learned various treatment tools, including journaling. The dark feelings and panic attacks quickly dissipated and he continued working to keep them at bay.

Reilly, who signed with the Lions as a free agent in February, said he hasn't experienced any symptoms in more than a year and a half, but he still uses some of the tools and techniques he learned.

Today he has confidence that if anxiety ever encroaches again, he'll be prepared.

"I don't worry about it now during the day because I know that if I start to feel a little bit off, I can go and talk to people and it's not going to be something where I'm going to be judged or I'm going to lose my career for it or things like that,'' he said.

The experience has flipped how Reilly views mental health, from something that can be fought through by those who are tough enough to a medical condition that needs outside help.

"It's something that didn't square in my mind in the beginning and now when I look back on it, I can't believe how wrong I was,'' he said. "It was a life lesson for me, for sure, and one that I'm fortunate to have had the pieces and people in place to get me the help that I needed.''

Now Reilly is joining a handful of other male professional athletes speaking about their personal journey in a bid to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

NBA players DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have shared their own battles, while NHL goalie Robin Lehner recently spoke out about struggling with addiction, suicidal thoughts and bipolar disorder.

Reilly is also helping others by working with the B.C. arm of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and putting the $25,000 donation he earned from being last year's top player of the week toward Foundry B.C., a group that helps youth access various mental health care and various other supports.

Speaking publicly has brought up some nerves for the quarterback, who prefers to keep his personal life personal.

"It's kind of uncharted territory for me,'' Reilly said. "Any time I've been hurt, physically, I don't talk about it. I've played through a lot of different injuries and I generally don't like to talk about them. It's generally something I deal with on my own.

"But this is not a physical injury. This is something that can and will affect a lot of people. Mental health touches so many different people and you don't even know about it.''

(Canadian Press/Gemma Martens-Smith)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Photo: Jeff Sawatzky
Pro football fans' last memory of Kory Sheets is very likely the famed Saskatchewan Roughriders running back ripping off a record 197 yards rushing in the 2013 Grey Cup, and being named the MVP of a 45-23 Saskatchewan victory over Hamilton at Taylor Field.

The highest of highs, you'd think.

Just a few months later Sheets - a free agent - spurned a lucrative offer from the Roughriders to sign with the NFL's Oakland Raiders for a few thousand dollars more. The following August, on national television at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Sheets popped his achilles tendon in a preseason game against the Packers and his career was over. In the blink of an eye.

That's when the regrets, the demons, and the downward spiral began.

With Sheets in Regina in June/2019 Photo: Jeff Armstead
In an interview with The Rod Pedersen Show, Sheets bared all about what Life After Football can be like, and how his life turned south with one fateful decision.

"I wanted to either stay in Saskatchewan or go pursue my dream," the former Dolphin, 49er, Raider and Rider said. "Honestly, I left over $20,000 and now I'm sitting here saying 'man, that's stupid!' Everyday.

"I see a therapist now because I deal with mental health issues and she asked me what my biggest regret in life is.

"I was like, 'Honestly, arguing over $20,000'. I literally left Canada, where I likely should've stayed, because they wouldn't give me an extra $20,000. I could've made that up off the field (in endorsements)! Hindsight's 20/20, you live and you learn, don't sweat the little stuff."

So just a scant six months later, Sheets' career was pinched off when it was potentially at the apex. He knew the second he heard a 'pop' near his ankle that he'd suffered a second severe achilles tendon injury. The Tampa Bay product waved off the trainer's cart and walked off on his own strength, admitting to himself that his days under the lights were over.

"That's another regret," Sheets winced. "I let go of the ball. So my last carry in the NFL was a damn fumble. When it popped, I thought 'Oh no, not this again'. And it was over."

You've likely heard the stories or seen the stats about how 75% of retired NFL'ers are broke, many have taken their own lives or attempted it, and their lives have completely fallen apart.

Kory Sheets is one of them, and he bravely bared his soul on the matter in an attempt to help others.

"For me after football I went through a big stage of depression where it was bad," the 34-year old detailed. "I got committed, and stayed in a facility for five days. That whole domestic violence thing I went through, I like to talk to people about that because there's a misconception about how that went.

"I was in pain through my career, and I took it out on the person that I loved, which was all bad. I think people do that a lot and don't understand where it's coming from. The partner thinks you're mad at them but really they're just a punching bag (metaphorically speaking). They could have nothing to do with what's going on in their partner's life but it's taken out on them. That's what was going on with me."

So how did that situation get resolved?

"She left me!" Sheets blurted. "That wasn't so much of a wakeup call but it forced me to face my biggest fears. It was my girl leaving me, my career was over, having another surgery, I had to move back into my parents' house, everything I didn't want to do in life. I thought, 'Alright, something's gotta give. Clearly, what I'm doing's not helping'. And I reached out and got help. I think more people should do that."

In the Recovery world, we often refer to the term "rock bottom". Anyone who's repaired their life has one. Where was Kory Sheets' rock bottom in this story?

"It was an attempted suicide," Sheets admitted. "I saw the pain in my parents, my sisters and my best friend and all I was doing was making them cry. I was tired of seeing me hurt the people I love. I needed to go get help, and that's what I did."

Forget about facing 300-lb frothing-at-the-mouth defensive linemen or blocking blitzing linebackers. This moment took the most courage Kory had ever mustered.

"It was a long drive to the hospital. I drove myself there and they asked, 'What's going on?' and I said 'I need help'.

The euphoria that comes on the other side of life begins when you tackle your demons head-on. No more running away. And life becomes a whole lot easier after that.

That's where Kory Sheets finds himself today.

"Yeah I've moved on but it's moreso like, have you ever faced your biggest fear in life?" Sheets asked, to which I nodded yes. "It's like, what the hell you got any fear for now? The worst thing I could've ever imagined, I done went through it already! And I'm still here. Nothing can really faze me now."

Just as happy for Kory Sheets is his family, who knew they couldn't do anything till Kory decided to help himself.

"They were just happy seeing me try to get better because they were watching me beat myself down and tear myself apart," Sheets surmised. "But they couldn't help me. They didn't know how, they didn't know why or what was going on with me because I didn't talk to people. Most men don't talk to people about their feelings.

"And I think that needs to change."

Sheets has a message for anyone who finds themself in a similar situation, and is wondering if there's a way out. It's not hopeless.

"You're not alone," Sheets concluded. "We're all struggling out here. Life is hard whether you're rich, poor or in the middle. Just talk to somebody and don't be afraid to reach out and get help. I promise you it's there and your loved ones will want to help you."

For more information on Kory Sheets or to book him for your event, visit his website at

(Rod Pedersen is a Recovery Coach in Sports, Entertainment & Military. He spent 20 seasons in the CFL as a Hall of Fame broadcaster.)

Thursday, May 9, 2019


PHOTO: Sask Rush
By: Rod Pedersen
For The Edge - A Leader's Magazine

When The Edge: A Leader’s Magazine first asked me to write a column on goal-setting and the importance of having a positive attitude in life, I’ll admit to being somewhat stumped.

I thought to myself, “I know how these concepts have impacted my own life, but how would I relate it to a wide cross-section of industries?”

Then it dawned on me. That’s exactly why they afforded me this opportunity. The fact of the matter is, I’ve got an arsenal of experience with all kinds of goals. Long-term goals, short-term goals, misguided goals, blown goals, experienced goals, adjusted goals, financial goals, you name it.

Famed leadership expert John C. Maxwell has written that life can be related to a Par 5 golf hole. You need to know where the pin is so you have something to work towards. How you get there is up to you.

And so begins the tale of my wild ride through life, which has gotten me to where I am today: putting out on the green of that first Par 5, and moving to the next exciting tee box.

All of these experiences unfolded somewhat unexpectedly, both tragically and triumphantly, and there’s something to be learned in that alone.

From the time I was six years old, all I wanted to be in life was an NHL radio announcer. Each morning when my feet hit the floor, beginning in Grade 1, I worked towards this goal thinking, “What can I do today to help achieve that ultimate target?”

My family was all-in with this idea. My mom enrolled me in French classes from Grades 7-12 so that I’d be bilingual by graduation. At 16, I begged for a new set of goaltender equipment for Christmas but when I unwrapped that large, heavy box, it was a new typewriter! As it turned out, my parents knew my destiny before I even did.

In broadcasting college, I laid out goals for the next 10 years: to be a play-by-play man in the Western Hockey League by age 20, to be in Regina by 22, and to be in the National Hockey League by age 25. I hit a bullseye on the first two, and although I didn’t get to the NHL by 25, I was hired by the Canadian Football League at 26 (the youngest in the history of the league). Things were coming along swimmingly!

Unfortunately, at this point I took my eye off the ball. A serious alcohol addiction was rapidly taking over my life and by the time the NHL came calling in the summer of 2014, I was primed for a trainwreck.

It’s true, I agreed to terms with an NHL team to be their “voice,” but the euphoria only lasted a week. Once the team learned of my off-air issues, the offer was pulled. It took me a few years to accept the fact that this blown opportunity was entirely my own fault, and not anyone else’s.

But that’s where the rebirth happened. After facing an intervention and getting into recovery in January of 2015, a magnificent new world unfolded.

Recovery concepts are a topic for another column, but my life changed when my own sober coach mentioned these words which changed my life forever: “Stop chasing the puck and let the puck come to you. You’ve been chasing that NHL dream for 35 years, but the door isn’t opening. Stop chasing and start listening to the opportunities which are being presented to you.”

It was an epiphany! And the mantra of recovery, “One day at a time,” meant so much to me in recovery that I had a bracelet made as a daily reminder. I offer these bracelets to each person I sober-coach to this day, and they wear them as a badge of honour.

I envy the people who’ve managed to live life one day at a time since childhood, because I didn’t get into the game until later in life. But the bright side, from the perspective of my own journey, is that a lot of people never do.

That’s where the idea of positive thinking comes in. “One day at a time” isn’t limited to sobriety. Winning each day with a series of small goals – being a good person, helping others, learning something new, moving past resentments, being grateful for your gifts rather than obsessing over what you don’t have – adds up to greater rewards than you ever could have imagined. I’ve reached goals and achievements in the past four years of which I never could have dreamt.

One last thing: be sure to pause every once in a while to enjoy the view of this beautiful Par 5 we call life.

(Rod Pedersen is the President & CEO of Pedersen Recovery Inc. working as a Sober Coach, Interventionist & Mental Health Advocate in Sports & Entertainment. His clients come from the NFL, MLB, NHL, CFL, CHL and CJHL. He is a contributing writer for The Edge Magazine)

Friday, April 26, 2019


In our latest Pedersen Recovery Podcast series, we sit down with famed NHL enforcer Chris "Knuckles" Nilan.

Hockey fans will remember Nilan as a bruising, fan-favourite with the Montreal Canadiens where he spent the majority of his 16 NHL seasons, winning a Stanley Cup in 1986.

The Boston, MA product now hosts a radio show on TSN 690 Montreal and also works in the Recovery field as a trained interventionist.

But what most people don't know - and I certainly didn't - is that Nilan is 8-years sober from intravenous heroin addiction, along with alcohol and other drugs. His rock bottom came in a Boston hotel bathroom where he overdosed. When he awoke, he made the decision which would ultimately save his life and that was to reach out for help.

In this podcast interview Nilan details his Recovery story, what life was like before and what it's like now, and delivers a message to the still-suffering alcoholic/addict.

The Pedersen Recovery Podcast features names from the sports and entertainment fields detailing their Recovery stories from addiction and mental illness.

Click below to hear Knuckles' Nilan's Recovery story:

Sunday, April 21, 2019


By: Darcie Khounnoraj
Kipling Citizen

"The conflict is that so many people will show up and listen to you speak about the Roughriders, they all yell and scream and go crazy and that's good, but the recovery/mental health aspect isn't as sexy or glamorous so it's a quieter group, yet you're having a bigger impact," Rod Pedersen, known as the Voice of the Riders, shared in Kipling, SK this month how he uses his voice to help those with addictions and mental illness versus the play-by-play commentary. "The only problem that I have is that I wish more people would speak up because addictions and mental health affect everybody in some way but nobody wants to talk about it."

Rod Pedersen kept the target audience up to date across Saskatchewan for 30 years with the play-by-play commentary for sports fans. Visiting the Kipling community, Pedersen presented his story to more than 120 people at the Kipling Community Centre on Sunday, March 31 sponsored by Kipling Ministerial and Gee Bee Construction.

On Monday, April 1, the Kipling School students (grades 7-12) listened attentively to Pedersen as he spoke of his struggles with alcoholism and the detrimental state of his well-being and the divide in his family while he lived with his addiction.

"I couldn't wait to get to Kipling because this is what my passion is now. I still do the sports banquets because they help raise money in communities, but I'd rather do this!" Pedersen smiled. "If somebody asks me to speak on Recovery, I will show up and speak. Because I'm so new at it, we'll find out in the years ahead what the impact is because I don't know what impact it is having (right now).

"The reason why I'm getting so many opportunities to speak is because it's very rare for somebody to stand in front of a room and say what all their deficiencies have been as a human being - it's so rare - but I don't mind because the worst is over for me as far as I'm concerned!"

Pedersen stated, "I used to have to drink six beer in a half an hour before I went on stage but about 5-6 months into recovery - with alcohol no longer an option - I found a new way to deal with the stress of public speaking. I didn't have that anxiety anymore 'cause I found the tools in recovery to do it. So that was a big change in me. The fact is there really isn't any stress at all. I created it in my head."

Pedersen has spoken to the public for more than three decades but it hasn't always been easy. As a child, Pedersen heard stories from his father who quit drinking 'cold turkey' when Rod was 2 years old. Pedersen spoke of how his father warned him of the dangers of drinking and smoking, noting that he avoided smoking because he disliked his father's bad habit - but drinking was another story.

Pedersen shared his own battles with anxiety, sleepwalking and moods that destroyed relationships and friendships - the early signs of addiction and mental illness.

As a young hockey player, Pedersen described himself as a person with big dreams in the sports industry, knowing early on that he wanted to be a voice heard on the radio. While attending college, his road to addiction began at parties equipped with a variety of drugs and alcohol, peer pressure and the idea of a carefree lifestyle. Although he stayed clear of the drug scene, Pedersen found himself in countless scenarios of blackouts and drunken state into his adult years.

Into his 30s, Pedersen admitted having a negative attitude about his life and the people he shared it with. He recalled a time when he was offered free bar tabs at party scenes just because of who he was.

"The opportunity was there and no one ever stopped me. One day I finally said 'now is the time - I'm going to be like Dad and stop (drinking). But I couldn't," Pedersen described. "It had me in its grasp. I felt trapped in alcoholism and it wasn't nice."

Pedersen admitted that there was a time in his life that he lost the will to live, stating 'I really didn't want to live but I really didn't want to die either.' He lost his ability to motivate himself in his career and personal life, his relationships with family depleted and his life was spiralling out of control.

"I got a prescription for anti-depressants but was never told to stop drinking. I found out that not a pill in the world would change my addiction or the mess I'd made of my life," Pedersen shared. "I had two options when I faced an intervention: Door A - accept the help, go into recovery and save my life or Door B - keep going the way I was going, but be terminated from my job and lose my family. I chose Door A."

While in recovery, Pedersen learned that he not only had an addiction, a disease, but that he also lived with a variety of mental illnesses. An assessment revealed depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, and addiction. "It was a snapshot of my whole life," he said. "I wasn't angry when I found that out at all. It totally described my whole life to that point."

Now as a trained Interventionist, and through recovery, Pedersen has seen the worst of the worst. He advised that addictions come in all forms including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, video games and more. People become trapped in addictions due to boredom, stress, money issues, limited self-control and to escape their lives.

"People can see that you are struggling but until you decide that you don't want to live that way anymore, they can't really help you. You really have to want to turn your life around - the resources are there," Pedersen assured, adding that the support system also has to stay focused on recovery.

"When the family says enough is enough, they need to be a united front. If there is one weak link in the chain, everything goes down."

As a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist, Interventionist, Mental Health Advocate and Sober Coach, Rod Pedersen's voice will still be heard across the province, only now he speaks up for those with addictions and mental illness.

ABOUT ME! Pedersen Media/Pedersen Recovery Inc.

We often come across individuals who excel in multiple fields, and Rod Pedersen is undoubtedly one of them. With a diverse skill set that en...